Nabiximols (brand name Sativex) is a patented medicine containing CBD and THC in equal proportions. The drug was approved by Health Canada in 2005 for prescription to treat central neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis, and in 2007 for cancer related pain. In New Zealand, Sativex is "approved for use as an add-on treatment for symptom improvement in people with moderate to severe spasticity due to multiple sclerosis who have not responded adequately to other anti-spasticity medication."
Until relatively recently (1980s), scientists believed that CBD was a natural precursor to the formation of THC, and since THC was a strictly controlled substance back then (it still is), it only followed that CBD should be equally strictly regulated. However, CBD is actually unrelated to the chemical chain that results in THC. They share some characteristics but are created via different paths. Again, unlike THC, CBD is considered a legal cannabinoid and is safe to consume in any amount and concentration.
Selective breeding of cannabis plants has expanded and diversified as commercial and therapeutic markets develop. Some growers in the US succeeded in lowering the proportion of CBD-to-THC to accommodate customers who preferred varietals that were more mind-altering due to the higher THC and lower CBD content. In the US, hemp is classified by the federal government as cannabis containing no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. This classification was established in the 2018 Farm Bill and was refined to include hemp-sourced extracts, cannabinoids, and derivatives in the definition of hemp.
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